Bride Cancels Wedding Then Changes Her Mind

Business By jsc2010 Updated 10 Jul 2011 , 5:12am by JanH

jsc2010 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:10pm
post #1 of 39

I received an email from a bride stating 'wedding canceled sorry for the inconvenience'. The wedding was to be in Sept. She had paid in full. 2 days later she emails stating that they are changing the wedding date to May. Still wants me to do the cake but the location and date are changed.

I tell her she has voided her contract and we will have to write up a new contract. But since the original contract I have had to raise my prices due to increased gas and food prices. Besides she is wanting a cake that I make that is seasonal and switching from fall to spring makes a huge difference in ability to get the necessary ingredients fresh. I am only charging her $50 to write up a new contract and the increase in cost which is $62.50. She emails wanting to negotiate the price to 1/2 of this.

I tell her that I have turned down many cakes in order to do hers in Sept and in May my prices are what they are. What more can I do? What if she wants her money back??? What would you do in this situation. The original wedding cake contract was for $2.50 a serving and now my prices are $3.00 a serving and I go with Earlene's serving size chart. I am cheaper that any other cake places around here. Thanks for your advice!

38 replies
texanlostlover Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:27pm
post #2 of 39

Definitely stick to your guns on this. I'd let her know that you are not able to lower the $50 cost increase, since this is already giving her a discount with your now higher prices. I'm sure your contract has statements about canceled/changed orders and that it requires a new contract with possibly different charges. Point this out to her, and let her know that you would love to still do her cake, as long as she is okay with the $50 price difference. If she does not wish to make a new contract, you will refund her money (minus the deposit--whatever your contract states). It might seem like a small deal to let go of $25, but the fact is it's a HUGE deal because it's your contract. If she sees that she can get out of the contract guidelines just by asking, she will not find a reason to stick with the new contract either, and you may end up regretting it, if she makes other claims later on.

CWR41 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:29pm
post #3 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc2010

I am only charging her $50 to write up a new contract and the increase in cost which is $62.50




Wow! She's really willing to risk losing all of her paid in full money over $62.50?!!! You're more than nice, especially since you're already giving away extra cake for free using the non-industry standard serving sizes by using Earlene's guide.

Your price is your price... if she doesn't accept it, she doesn't get a refund (per your original contract, right?)

leah_s Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:30pm
post #4 of 39

Honestly I'd give her the same cake at the agreed on price, and wouldn't bother with a new contract other than changing the date on the original one. If she had given you the May date at the original consultation, what would your price have been?

What I see as the biggest problem here, is using Earlene's serving chart. that forces you to give away large amounts of free cake. The caterer at the reception will cut to the Wilton chart - they ALL do.

Cakeuhlicious Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:33pm
post #5 of 39

I would stick to your original contract in both cases.

I would handle this in two completely separate steps and regardless of her decision, I would follow your contract.

First, I would assess her cancellation in conjunction with the guidelines of the original contract. If the original contract states that there is a non-refundable deposit, I would keep that amount and return her payment - even if she plans to sign another contract. That clearly completes the trasnaction and fullfills THAT contract. If your contract doesn't mandate that there will be no refund or a partial refund for cancellation, then I would return all of her money because contractually you didn't state that she would receive no money back if cancelling. Whatever the case may be (I dont know what your contract states, obviously), follow your original contract and first address and process her cancellation accordingly.

Second, after the cancellation is addressed, I would offer her the new contract at the new price and require an entirely new deposit or full payment based on the new contract. She cancelled, you did not cancel. Your prices changed accordingly with the general cost of living, there is no reason why she should be afforded a special discount for signing a new contract after the price changes.

Whatever you decide, I would not co-mingle the funds from contract 1 to contract 2. I would refund (if your contract states she is entitled to anything) and get an entirely new payment so that the cancellation if contract 1 is complete before engaging in contract 2.

bakerliz Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:38pm
post #6 of 39

What's your cancellation policy?

leah_s Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:42pm
post #7 of 39

Damn, you guys are hard a$$e$. Just sayin.' This bride's got a lot going on.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:44pm
post #8 of 39

If it were me, I would be keeping 50% of her original payment as per my contract to compensate for lost business in Sept. Then I would require a whole new contract and payment (at my new rates if applicable) for her NEW date in May. I'm sorry, but why should you lose out here because of her indecision over the date?! That's just stupid.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:45pm
post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Damn, you guys are hard a$$e$. Just sayin.' This bride's got a lot going on.




Don't we all ?! icon_rolleyes.gif OP is running a business, not a charity.

TexasSugar Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:46pm
post #10 of 39

I can in a way understand the new price, though I do agree more with Leah_s.

I don't understand in the $50 charge to write a new contract. Aren't you just pretty much changing dates, and maybe costs? I don't see how that would take more than 5 mins to do, reprint and stick in the mail.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:53pm
post #11 of 39

This reminds of a 'Say Yes To The Dress' episode where a bride had cancelled a dress, then came back and wanted it again. The price of the dress had increased in the meantime (I think it had been on some kind of special when the bride bought it), and she was going to have to pay the higher price to get it again. Tough noogies.

I do however think that charging $50 to write a new date and whatever on a new contract a bit much, but fully support you charging the new price icon_smile.gif

Cakeuhlicious Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:53pm
post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Honestly I'd give her the same cake at the agreed on price, and wouldn't bother with a new contract other than changing the date on the original one. If she had given you the May date at the original consultation, what would your price have been?

What I see as the biggest problem here, is using Earlene's serving chart. that forces you to give away large amounts of free cake. The caterer at the reception will cut to the Wilton chart - they ALL do.




I personally like this idea, but I can see why the OP would be a stickler if the ingredients and such are going to be an increased expense to get in a different season and so on. I dont think I would personally take on added expenses for someone who is being flakey. Otherwise, I think this more lax approach would be easier all around. thumbs_up.gif

Bluehue Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:56pm
post #13 of 39

Have i got this right?

Bride orders for Sept 2011 - pays in full

Cancels

2 days later contacts you saying wedding is on - but now in May 2012.

In those 2 days - costs have gone up and you are charging $50.00 to rewrite contract.


Bluehue

luddroth Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:57pm
post #14 of 39

I agree with Leah also. You've had her money in advance for some time and all she's really doing is changing the date. If you didn't have the new date available, you would have to excercise the cancellation policy. But she can argue that it's not a cancellation -- it's a date change. I think I would give her a break.

gatorcake Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 4:59pm
post #15 of 39

Had you already voided the contract? Had you already processed her refund? If not you could easily ignore the cancellation and handle it as a simple change in date. Yes she did technically cancel, but you do not have to handle it as a cancellation, rebooking.

As to the increase in price, how do you handle change in dates regarding price per serving? If a bride places an order, subsequently you raise your prices, and then changes the date would you tell that bride they now have to pay your higher prices?

Again you can simply ignore the cancellation and view it as a change in date and thus give her the same price. Although I do think it would be fair to charge her a change date fee for potential loss in business.

MainCake Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 5:01pm
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluehue

Have i got this right?

Bride orders for Sept 2011 - pays in full

Cancels

2 days later contacts you saying wedding is on - but now in May 2012.

In those 2 days - costs have gone up and you are charging $50.00 to rewrite contract.


Bluehue




If I'm understanding correctly, the cancellation and the 'reorder' so to speak happened within 2 days. I assumed the original order/contract was done up well before the cancellation.

jsc2010 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 5:03pm
post #17 of 39

I don't book wedding cakes out farther than 12 months and she booked this cake with me last October. So if she was wanting a cake in May of 2012 I would not have written a contract. I know my prices are lower than most in my area and I don't charge a delivery fee so with gas prices having gone up I have had to raise my prices. Besides the cost of sugar and butter have doubled where I live.

She did email me back and is willing to pay the difference. She really wants me to do her cake. I agree with your comment about Earlene's but I want my customers to have enough cake that they won't run out. Even though I use Earlene's, my brides always tell me there wasn't a stitch of cake left. So I am gun shy about going with Wilton....

And by her cancelling her original date I have lost money due to the fact I have turned away wedding cakes for that date. And truthfully probably very unlikely I'll have someone call this close to order a wedding cake for that date.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Honestly I'd give her the same cake at the agreed on price, and wouldn't bother with a new contract other than changing the date on the original one. If she had given you the May date at the original consultation, what would your price have been?

What I see as the biggest problem here, is using Earlene's serving chart. that forces you to give away large amounts of free cake. The caterer at the reception will cut to the Wilton chart - they ALL do.


Ednarooni Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 5:18pm
post #18 of 39

If someone schedules on the first date then I would assume, other brides had to find another cake vendor for that time..so there's time and business lost..then if she reschedules for another date..(hoping she wont) then there's another time slot where people may/will be out and/or the business will be out because she changes her mind again..

I would assume that cancellations were included in your contract..and then you either have to say, "well, this is what you owe me" and/or be generous and say, "this is what I COULD have charged you..but I'm letting it go but if it happens again..then THIS is what you will pay me for time and clients lost on "both" accounts..

This is a good wake up call for tight contracts because if brides get in the habit of doing this with a "oh it's okay to change the date"..who suffers more..the bride or the vendor who does this for income.. Time "is" money.

jsc2010 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 5:19pm
post #19 of 39

Also in regards to my increase in price. I had raised my prices about 5 months ago not just now.

My policy is a $50 deposit to book a date that is non-refundable and non-transferrable. So with her changing the date she lost that money. But I have put all of her other money towards her new date. I have lost money because of having to turn business away.

If she and her fiance are having issues how do I know that she will not cancel this next date and I will again lose business? So the $50 is not just to write up a new contract but to also hold her date. If I didn't charge this fee then she could be changing her date every month...lol!

And like I said she did email me and say that she will pay the additional fee.

snocilla Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 5:29pm
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc2010

Also in regards to my increase in price. I had raised my prices about 5 months ago not just now.

My policy is a $50 deposit to book a date that is non-refundable and non-transferrable. So with her changing the date she lost that money. But I have put all of her other money towards her new date. I have lost money because of having to turn business away.

If she and her fiance are having issues how do I know that she will not cancel this next date and I will again lose business? So the $50 is not just to write up a new contract but to also hold her date. If I didn't charge this fee then she could be changing her date every month...lol!

And like I said she did email me and say that she will pay the additional fee.




Why would you assume that her an her fiance are having issues? I assumed that something came up and they couldn't do it that date. Maybe he is in the military and has to go out on a 6-month deployment that got moved up? Maybe she freaked out when she found out and thought, well I guess we'll just cancel the wedding and go to the justice of the peace. And then later realized she could just reschedule.

I'm not trying to be harsh, it just didn't occur to me that they were having issues, as opposed to some type of conflict with the date.

That being said, I'm glad that it's resolved and she agreed to pay the extra.

Cakeuhlicious Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 5:36pm
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by snocilla


Why would you assume that her an her fiance are having issues? I assumed that something came up and they couldn't do it that date. Maybe he is in the military and has to go out on a 6-month deployment that got moved up? Maybe she freaked out when she found out and thought, well I guess we'll just cancel the wedding and go to the justice of the peace. And then later realized she could just reschedule.

I'm not trying to be harsh, it just didn't occur to me that they were having issues, as opposed to some type of conflict with the date.

That being said, I'm glad that it's resolved and she agreed to pay the extra.




Because it's a likely assumption in a lot of cases. LOL Its pretty irrelvant to this thread topic though.

snocilla Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 5:39pm
post #22 of 39

sorry, I know it's irrelevant.. it just caught my attention...

lilbitacake Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 6:11pm
post #23 of 39

I am with leah_s. I would just change the date on the contract, you still have 1 1/2 to 2 months to fill that date trust me you will will fill that date.

btrsktch Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 7:19pm
post #24 of 39

I would look more at this like building a relationship with the bride since she booked in advance, and paid in full, rather than a direct transaction. So, I would just change the date on the contract, and thank her kindly for her business.

Once you book with me, I start working back with you to ensure that I can be considered for any future cake orders and you can think (even though its not always true) that I care enough about YOU to make minor contract changes, as long as they are reasonable.

If you charged me extra for a date change, I wouldn't want to use you again. And if you charged me for the cancellation, and then again for the date change ~ and kept my deposit, I would take my business elsewhere. She doesn't sound like she is trying to get any extra discount out of you, so why not be accommodating?

jsc2010 Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 8:26pm
post #25 of 39

ouch! I thought I was being fair with her.

I don't have to hold to her contract as she CANCELED! Also had I been booked for the other date she would be out her deposit. Her first email wasn't asking for a date change.

Doing her cake in May 2012 is going to cost me more than if I were going to do it in September 2011. And her cancellation has caused me loss of business.

What good is a contract if we aren't going to hold to it?

BlakesCakes Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 8:43pm
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc2010

ouch! I thought I was being fair with her.

I don't have to hold to her contract as she CANCELED! Also had I been booked for the other date she would be out her deposit. Her first email wasn't asking for a date change.

Doing her cake in May 2012 is going to cost me more than if I were going to do it in September 2011. And her cancellation has caused me loss of business.

What good is a contract if we aren't going to hold to it?




I think this says it all very well.

If you were planning on being unfair, you could have gone to her 5 months ago when you raised your prices and told her that due to severe increases in the cost of gas and ingredients, you were raising the cost of her cake. Heck, you could even have fine print in your contract to that effect. Now, we'd have flamed you big time if you'd done that........... icon_lol.gif

I like the suggestion by a previous poster that you complete Contract #1, and get her to sign off on it. Then, write up Contract #2 with all of the new info, a new deposit, payment schedule, etc. If you both agree, transfer her original payment(s) to #2 and give her a balance due and a date to pay it by.

Rae

cakestyles Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 9:02pm
post #27 of 39

OP you don't need to explain your reason for raising your prices to anyone on here. Your business is YOUR business. You know what you need to charge and why.

I too would not quote or write up a contract for a date more than 12 months away...who does?

I think you are being more than fair with this bride. When she e-mailed you to cancel, that voided her original contract. She didn't e-mail you to "change the date", she cancelled. So of course a new contract is required.

And, you're absolutely right, why have a contract if you're not going to uphold it? Isn't that what every big business owner on here is always preaching?

I think you're more than generous to not keep at least some of the original contract money....at the very least you should keep the deposit and require her to pay a new deposit to hold the May date. (I guess that's sort of what you're doing by charging her another $50)

I hope you're able to book the September date.

costumeczar Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 2:13am
post #28 of 39

It sounds like it worked itself out, but this should be in the cancellation policy on your comtract. I looked mine up and this is what I have oin my contract:

Cancellation and Rescheduling
All cancellations must be verified in writing. If for any reason the event is canceled or rescheduled, the client must contact A Cake To Remember immediately, and the requested new date may not be available. The $100 retainer fee is non-refundable and non-transferable even if the new date is not available, or the event is totally canceled. No refunds of any monies paid will be issued for cancellations less than two weeks before the event. Cancellations more than two weeks before the event are subject to fees based upon work already done on items for the cake by A Cake To Remember as well as time spent on appointments up to that point.


So based on that, She'd forfeit her $100 deposit but since the original date is in September I probably wouldn't have done anything to prep her cake, so I'd return the rest. If she wanted to reschedule the date for a different day, it would be a new contract and a new price with a new retainer.

Depending on WHY she cancelled though, would matter to me. I had a bride whose fiance was diagnosed with cancer and he had to go to chemo so they postponed the wedding, I was more flexible for her than I would have been for someone who just broke it off because the groom was a jerk. The last part of the cancellation policy gives me some flexibility to decide how much to refund if more than just the deposit has been paid.

KoryAK Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 6:21am
post #29 of 39

From my contract:

4.  DATE CHANGES: If a date change for the same event is requested, we will attempt but cannot guarantee accommodation. If we cannot accommodate the new date, or the new date is not established by 1 year from the old date, the retainer will be forfeited. If the new date is 6 months or more past the old date, the order cost will be reviewed and recalculated at and subject to the then prevailing rates and policies.

A clause like this would have covered your butt for this exact situation (which is, of course, moot because the bride has agreed). I, too, would treat it as a simple date change and not a cancellation and rebooking but ya the price is going up if my prices went up the mean time.

I regularly book cakes up to 18 mos in advance and my brides lock in their pricing and policies when they sign the contract.

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 7:07am
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc2010

ouch! I thought I was being fair with her.

I don't have to hold to her contract as she CANCELED! Also had I been booked for the other date she would be out her deposit. Her first email wasn't asking for a date change.

Doing her cake in May 2012 is going to cost me more than if I were going to do it in September 2011. And her cancellation has caused me loss of business.

What good is a contract if we aren't going to hold to it?



I think this says it all very well.

If you were planning on being unfair, you could have gone to her 5 months ago when you raised your prices and told her that due to severe increases in the cost of gas and ingredients, you were raising the cost of her cake. Heck, you could even have fine print in your contract to that effect. Now, we'd have flamed you big time if you'd done that........... icon_lol.gif

I like the suggestion by a previous poster that you complete Contract #1, and get her to sign off on it. Then, write up Contract #2 with all of the new info, a new deposit, payment schedule, etc. If you both agree, transfer her original payment(s) to #2 and give her a balance due and a date to pay it by.

Rae




No, she really could not have done this. The contract is binding for the business as well as the customer. Once you've entered into a contract to provide a cake for an agreed upon price, you can't change that price. That would be considered a breach of contract.

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